Who has the Harry Potter game?
Definitely not me. Why not?
Because my mum, and iPad games… Pearl, do you want to come to my place?
You can try it. No.
John Webster is my name. I’m the principal at Wellers Hill State School.
We’ve commenced the bilingual program at Wellers Hill in 2014 after a year of intensive
research. My name is Sarah Prescott and I’m a parent
of Eliza. And she has been in the bilingual program
since 2014. When I speak Japanese I think it’s easy.
But, when I’m learning new words it’s a bit difficult – but once I’ve got those
words, it’s easy. All the research indicates that children who
are bilingual have better prospects in life, have better health outcomes…
There are various advantages for native bilingualism. But I … Universal Studios Japan, Hogwarts
and the Hogwarts ride… Because my eyes…
You didn’t go! I did.
But, if you do this with your eyes… I had my eyes…
Just like this… People who are native bilinguals, they actually
get their dementia 4.5 years later than if they were monolinguals.
When you’re natively bilingual, and let’s say there is a construction noise while you
are giving a lecture, you are more likely to be able to concentrate on your point.
So this has to do with auditory concentration. Next, does anybody remember what we get when
we add a circle to the ‘hi’ character? If you are natively bilingual, if you speak
two languages as your mother tongues, you are actually more clever than yourself as
a monolingual. Over 90 per cent of these children have never
experienced Japanese before year one. What kind of fruit do you like Riley?
Kiwifruit. So, say, “I like kiwifruit.”
I like kiwifruit. I’m Kristina and I’ve got two kids at
Wellers Hill doing the bilingual program. My oldest daughter Natalie was in the first
year that the program started and it was terrifying – it was exciting.
But it was also terrifying when it first started because we had no idea, really, what to expect.
My name’s Courtney Czechowski. I’m a parent at Wellers Hill State School.
I certainly know for my daughter, at about this time last year when she started, she
made the comment that she really liked Japanese but it was probably better that she went to
a school where they spoke English. So it’s great to see a year on that that’s
her favourite subject and she’s just passionate about speaking Japanese and learning Japanese
and practicing. The class has two teachers – a Japanese teacher
and an English teacher. They alternate every half a day.
I have an English partner teacher. So she’s the one teaching all Australian
curriculum in English. And I’m teaching Japanese literacy, maths,
science and geography in Japanese. There are some words that have been introduced
in English, but we can’t directly translate that into Japanese because it’s not an age-appropriate
word in Japanese. So we have to reword into the similar range
of words in Japanese and that’s the challenge that we have every term.
The unique things we’re finding are that the way that Japanese mathematics is taught
is really enhancing the way we’re now teaching mathematics on the English side of the program
as well. The soroban is the word for abacus in Japanese.
In my class we use soroban a lot. That helps to develop their abstract thinking.
Starting afresh: six yen, one yen, eight yen, four yen, six yen, two yen, two yen, nine
yen and nine yen makes? Was the last one nine?
Yes, Eliza? It’s forty-seven yen.
So they can say, for example, 565 divided by five.
They can do that in five seconds. It’s about a year-and-a-half into the program,
probably at that time point, I think I was just standing by lining up with the kids for
the class for the morning and Eliza started to talk Japanese to her teachers.
And I went, “wow, that’s unbelievable,” because, in contrast to my experience as a
language learner, I’d never gotten to the point where I’d been conversationally fluent
in Japanese. When you walk around the school now you can
see pockets, and hear pockets, of students speaking Japanese and students speaking in
English. If the kids approach one of their Japanese
teachers they will convert directly back to Japanese and speak to them.
And then if I’m walking past they’ll switch straight back to English.
My name is Kanon. I’m doing a homestay at Eliza’s house.
Your turn. That was fast.
Stormrider is my favourite ride. What’s that? Water?
Yes, the one with water – it’s high. So we went to Japan for two weeks, which was
essentially a visit to different cities and then the kids were able to go on a three-day
homestay. My homestay was a lot of fun because we played
a lot of interesting games. Natalie had the opportunity to do a homestay
when she was in Japan and she had this amazing time with her family who really welcomed her
into their home – but she got this snapshot into their life.
And she got to bathe in a traditional Japanese house, she slept on a futon in a shared bedroom,
she sat around the table on the tatami [straw matting] eating the meal with the family.
And, for her, she just came back speaking about it like it was this amazing experience.
My homestay family had a father, a mother, an older brother, an older sister, a younger
brother. I ate a lot of curry and rice balls during
my homestay. I’ve done lots of different things, but
this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever introduced in a school.
Because you can see the joy that the children are getting out of the program, the joy that
the parents are getting out of the program, the positive impact that teaching Japanese
in a bilingual fashion has had on our English study component – which is amazing.
But I think, certainly, understanding another culture and another country is something that’s
really nice to see happening so early. So, embedded within the curriculum for the
children are these cultural experiences, which I think has such great value in terms of our
global environment today. And I just think that that has been so valuable
for the children. I think that will really help them for the
rest of their lives. The bilingual program at Wellers Hill will
change the lives of these children for the better till they retire and beyond.
It’s an amazing thing. I probably won’t work in Japan, but I’ll
go to Japan a lot. If you can do half of your school year in
grade one and beyond in another language, you can do anything.